Strap on the other pole in the same manner. Walking poles are a great addition to a low-intensity exercise routine. When going uphill, you may want to shorten your poles by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters. Otherwise, you might trip yourself with your poles. Once you’ve got used to a pair of walking poles, my mother-in-law says you won’t want to go back to walking without them. Technique Variations. Oftentimes, hiking uphill causes you to lean forward, putting more strain on your back. The first time I tried a walking pole, it was an amazing experience. Not all poles are designed for the same purpose. Adjust the height of the trekking pole again whenever you come to a hill. And research reveals there is a lot to recommend the use of walking (or trekking) poles or sticks if you plan to head off on a walking holiday, especially if you daily walks will be long or hilly, or both. Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Grasp the handle lightly. Walking with poles (also known as Nordic walking) in parks and cities has also become very popular due to its convenience and effectiveness. Turns out there are many ways walking poles (aka trekking or hiking poles) help you hike safer, faster and farther. The first step when pole walking is to gather your gear. Walking poles can work to prevent injuries and back pain by improving your posture as you walk. This is a small upward motion of the forearm or a slight flick of the wrist. Swing the poles forward again at the point you think you can use their stability. Trekking poles can help you walk on a variety of terrain with confidence. Adjustable hiking poles can vary in length from about 24 inches (61cms) to 55 inches (140cms). For stability, the tip of the pole will plant lightly. Keep what pole-walking experts call a "grip-n-go" hold on your poles. Conclusion – Why use walking poles. Walking with trekking poles requires well-adjusted poles and proper technique. You can, in fact, burn anywhere from an additional 20 to 40 percent more calories per session. When using a plant/push technique, make sure you are applying pressure back and down. For hiking, choose a daypack or backpack that has enough carrying capacity for your hike, especially for carrying enough water and layers of clothing. To get used to the right grip, hold it between your thumb and forefinger without using the other fingers. Aim to walk in a relaxed fashion but still with an awareness of posture and good pole use. While using poles to climb that hilly ascent you’ll stand straighter … The poles focus on working the upper body while walking, and this addition of the torso muscles lets you walk at a slower pace yet receive a more challenging overall workout. Trekking poles seem to split the walking community but these days a growing number of people are taking up their poles and enjoying the benefits. If you don’t have a set yet, check out the best hiking poles of 2016 for some good options and tips on how to go about buying your first pair. Whether you are hiking difficult mountain trails or need stability on sidewalks and park paths, a set of poles can be very helpful. Once a sound basic technique is achieved, variations like up and downhill, striding, skating, jogging and double pole actions can be learnt to give interest and extra challenge to any Nordic walking session. Walking poles are available as fixed or adjustable. “This reduces stress on the knees, shins, hips and back.” Read the full Get Moving series A tight grip on the pole isn't necessary and can tire your hands and wrists. If you keep your grip relaxed, it will take minimal effort to flick the pole forward with each step. Adjust the length of the poles so you maintain an angled elbow as your poles contact the ground. Walking with trekking poles requires well-adjusted poles and proper technique. By planting the pole a bit with each step when it is behind your body, you can give yourself a little extra propulsion. Don't worry, you will naturally tighten your grip if you feel yourself slipping or need a point of stability for a moment while walking. What Is Nordic Walking? The opposite arm/leg motion is important. "Trekking with poles is walking with serious attitude," says Paley, who has sold more than 12,000 copies of her trio of DVDs on using poles for hiking, Nordic walking or basic mobility. Your hold on the pole should be relaxed, with the pole able to rotate forward and back between your thumb and forefinger. The handle should be set to a point that your arm is bent at a 90-degree angle. Pushing the poles with your arms, which complements and aids the work done by your legs, is essential if you want the poles to help you to go upwards. By engaging the upper body—something you don't typically do with standard walking—you'll work your arms, chest, shoulders, and back, as well as your abs, legs, and butt. Take your hands out of the straps and grip them as you lower yourself. It simply touches the ground before you flick it forward again with the next step. Get out and explore all of the wonderful places there are to enjoy. This goes double on steep ascents, when your stray pole tips may be waving around at face height and present a genuine risk to those coming up behind. You can close the other fingers loosely. When you’re holding the handgrip and the tip of the pole touches the ground, your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle. Walking poles take some of the load off your lower back, hips and knees, which may be helpful if you have arthritis or back problems. This is similar to the Nordic walking technique. Planting your walking poles This is often a matter of personal preference. “Using poles while walking tricks the body into using a more upright posture,” Smith explains. Erin Pereira, PT, DPT, is a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy. Trekking poles are designed to provide stability, whilst Nordic walking poles burn more calories and provide a good upper-body workout. Keep the poles close to your body and don't plant them ahead of you. As this becomes more natural, use your arms to push off the poles, propelling your body forward. Continue in this fashion to move forward. You can, in fact, burn anywhere from an additional 20 to 40 percent more calories per session. That's all you'll really need. Sturdier walking poles designed for hiking are known as hiking or trekking poles. That makes it suitable to use for long walks and hikes, such as on the Camino de Santiago, or to use if you need better balance and stability wherever you walk. Turns out there are many ways walking poles (aka trekking or hiking poles) help you hike safer, faster and farther. If you have 3-section poles, one suggestion is to set the top section at the midway point and then adjust the bottom section to the right length for walking on the level. In fact, walking with poles has been shown to boost calorie burn by an average of 15 to 20%—and up to 50%—compared with regular walking, even though it feels just as easy. It is more of a grip, loosen, grip, loosen technique. Whereas using trekking poles tends to increase speed and rhythm, hiking with a walking stick is more of a steadying process, with the accompanying stick providing extra support rather than increased propulsion. It cost me the same to put my 30 litre rucksack (with poles strapped to it) in the hold. Get acquainted with how to adjust the length of your poles. This results in the strap being over the back of your hand (and not twisted), with your thumb over the strap. The problem with trekking poles is that some hikers simply purchase them without seeking advice on how to properly use them. This activity can be extremely beneficial for active seniors, arthritic users, patients with cardiac health concerns, people living with diabetes, Parkinson's disease and more. When walking in a group with the poles held idly in your hands, take care not to spear your friends. Stand up straight and keep your shoulders relaxed to ensure correct use And the difference was like night and day. You can lengthen the poles by 5 centimeters to 10 centimeters. Now you can bring the poles up enough so the tips touch the ground with each step. While using poles to climb that hilly ascent you’ll stand straighter … For serious hikers, trekking poles are so useful they are almost mandatory. This is a benefit if you have osteoarthritis or are overweight. Now you can bring the poles up enough so the tips touch the ground with each step. You can use a simple rule of thumb to figure out the correct height for walking poles. How walking poles could hold the secret to your walking success Published Oct 27, 2020 at 1:13 p.m. If you are feeling confident and want to pick up the pace, you can relax your arms and put a little shoulder action into each poling movement, with the tip of the pole planting slightly behind your body. Your poles can give you an assist in standing up from a sitting position. Before you depart on your walk, you’ll want to size up your poles: hold onto the grip, put the tip on the ground, and keep the pole vertical and your arm close to body; your elbow should be bent 90 degrees. With each step, flick the opposite side's pole forward. Learn how to grip the poles, use the right arm and leg motion, and adjust them for going uphill and downhill. If you are shorter, there may be poles designed for kids that will fit you well. You will notice that the left pole goes forward as your right foot steps forward and vice versa. How can you overcome the slouching, neck and shoulder pain many get from working at desks and computers? Extend your left foot and your right pole together so that both make contact with the ground at the same time. STEP 1 Adjust the poles to the proper height. Slowly start to walk, swinging arms one at a time. Kocur P, Wiernicka M, Wilski M, et al. Trekking pole technique is not meant to add any more exertion or calorie burn. If you don’t have a set yet, check out the best hiking poles of 2016 for some good options and tips on how to go about buying your first pair. Plant the pole a little ahead of your step and follow naturally with your feet and body before removing the pole and bringing it to your front again. The strap should keep the pole from sliding if you release the pole, but not be so tight as to inhibit movement or circulation. I resisted at first, but then finally gave in, and agreed to try them out. If you want to add a definite action and get a little upper body work, you can bear down on it a bit. Walking poles help you maintain proper posture, especially in the upper back, and may help to strengthen upper back muscles. Pick your way down with small steps, keeping your knees soft. How to Use Your Walking Poles. If your poles have a strap, bring your hand up through the strap and then grip the pole. If you … A backpack is ideal if you need to carry more than your essentials while you are using trekking poles. With one walking pole in each hand, you grip the handles and push off with each stride. They will aid you to walk longer and quicker, with less strain on your joints and muscles. You can also use them to give you a better balance when sitting down. If you are taller, look for poles for the higher height range. Some poles have straps labeled left and right for your convenience. Nordic walking involves walking while using walking sticks that are similar in design to ski poles. Roll the foot from the heel to the ball with each step. The poles focus on working the upper body while walking, and this addition of the torso muscles lets you walk at a slower pace yet receive a more challenging overall workout. 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